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6 min read

    6 min read

    If you’ve been driving for any length of time, there’s a fairly good chance you’ve been involved in some type of minor accident. However, what happens if you hit a pedestrian while driving for Uber or Lyft? Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins details when this unthinkable accident occurs, and what you can do to handle a situation like this.

    Driving every day or every night or a mix of the two can be dangerous. We all know this. Accidents happen every day. But what if the unthinkable happens? What if you hit a pedestrian while driving for Uber or Lyft? Below, I’ll cover what you need to know if you hit a pedestrian, how rideshare insurance can help, and how to get help in this scenario.

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    How an Accident With a Pedestrian Can Occur

    I spoke with a driver who was unfortunate enough to have experienced this with a passenger in their car at the time. Fortunately, everything worked out for everyone. The pedestrian did not sustain injuries and was able to walk away from the incident.

    Understandably, this driver requested anonymity. We’ll call him George. Here’s how he described what happened:

    “I was picking a passenger up at about 9:30 pm. It was pitch black. It was a clear night in Minneapolis. I was pulling out of a parking lot, passengers in tow. I looked both ways, and it was clear. I started to pull out, and a bicyclist came out in front of me causing me to hit him.

    “Fortunately, it was only a light tap. However, he reacted very strongly pounding on my car. I got out and talked to him and calmed him down. He acknowledged that he was at fault as he didn’t have any lights or front facing reflectors as required by law. Thankfully, I have a dash camera, which upon further review with my lawyer revealed that he was completely at fault.”

    Also working in his favor was the fact that George had passengers who were able to corroborate that the bicyclist was at fault. “When I dropped them off, I immediately called and reported it to Lyft and asked them to refund the passenger,” he explained.

    How to Proceed If You’ve Gotten Into an Accident With a Pedestrian

    George’s case is a little different from how a “normal” incident would be handled because no injuries were actually sustained. “I do have rideshare insurance,” said George. “Since there was no harm or injury I didn’t report to my insurance. Lyft reported to their insurance. I spoke to the adjuster, who advised me that there was no need to keep the claim open as there was no injury.”

    To play it safe, George did use a prepaid legal service that he subscribes to in order to consult with a lawyer, but because it didn’t go any further, there was no need to do anything more.

    If you’ve been in an accident and don’t have a lawyer, reach out to our recommended law firm, LegalRideshare. Bryant Greening, an attorney with LegalRideshare, is a driver himself and understands drivers’ concerns and will work to get you back on the road quickly. You can contact LegalRideshare here.

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    How Can You Protect Yourself?

    If you’re en route to a trip or on a trip, you are covered by Uber and Lyft’s million dollar policy. However, if you’re not, you will really want rideshare insurance since Uber and Lyft only provide state minimum liability limits during period one. In most cases, your personal insurer won’t cover the difference unless you have or add rideshare insurance.

    Another thing you can do to protect yourself is do what George did and be sure to have a dash cam for rideshare drivers. It’s the only impartial eye witness you and the police can rely on for deciding who’s at fault. In this case, the pedestrian bicyclist did not have on reflectors or a light when it was pitch dark out. The dash cam would be able to capture that with indisputable accuracy.

    Finally, you’ll want to know your local laws. While it’s obviously never good to hit a pedestrian, knowing what the laws are in your city could help you argue against it being your fault. For example, in George’s and my city of Minneapolis, a bicyclist must:

    • Ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
    • Obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
    • Signal turns and ride in a predictable manner.
    • Use a headlight and rear reflectors when it’s dark.

    And for walking pedestrians:

    ·   Motorists must treat every corner and intersection as a crosswalk, whether it’s marked or unmarked, and drivers must stop for crossing pedestrians.

    ·   Pedestrians must obey traffic control devices, and when no traffic control device is present, motorists must stop for crossing pedestrians within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.

    These are just the tip of the iceberg of the full statutes, but they are good to know and keep in mind. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen pedestrians crossing against the light and just taking for granted that the cars are going to stop. It’s a dangerous game to play and you need to know, as a driver, if you’re in the right or in the wrong if involved in an accident with a pedestrian.

    How to Protect Yourself As a Driver

    While hitting a pedestrian is likely to be a traumatic event that no one ever wants to happen, accidents do happen and you want to be prepared. Here are three tips to protect yourself so this never happens to you or, if it does, you know how to handle it:

    1. Protect yourself with the proper coverage of rideshare insurance.
    2. Get a dash cam if you don’t already have one.
    3. Know your local laws for pedestrians and bicyclists.

    If you do get into an accident, be sure to call the police as well as submitting the accident with your insurance and Lyft or Uber’s insurance. You might need to get a lawyer involved. You should be able to get a free consultation before hiring any lawyer for their services. Most importantly, just try to be safe out there.

    Drivers, although no one wants to talk about it, do you know a fellow driver who has been in an accident with a pedestrian? What happened and how was the accident resolved?

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    -Paula @ RSG

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins, a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, is a part-time rideshare driver and a full-time proofreader. She is based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In her free time, Paula enjoys reading, playing board games and participating in trivia nights.

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